Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I have teenagers in my home. They have a code "TMI" they use when someone goes into extensive descriptions that would be better left unsaid. TMI = Too much information. Given the information overload that threatens to swamp many of our lives, maybe we could have a TMI day and enjoy "the sound of silence" for even just 24 hours.

There is a real cost associated with information overload.

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it." - Herbert Simon (recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic in 1978 for his contribution to organizational decision making)

If you're reading this, you're choosing not to read something else. If you watch American Idol, you're not watching DATELINE NBC with John Grisham discussing his first nonfiction work, “The Innocent Man,” about a murder case that resulted in the wrongful conviction of two Oklahoma men. I'm not lobbying for one or the other, rather affirming that Simon's quote applies so much to those of us who are church leaders.

Are we intentional in the Sunday announcements (strategic concerns) that we make verbally versus those that are just printed in the bulletin? What do we choose to write about in our newsletters? If we only have one or two things to say, are we talking about what matters most?

Ultimately, our goal is not information transfer but transformation. Some information is critical to the transformation process. Too much information may even be counter-productive. I don't know who said it first, but I've repeated it often reflecting on church world: "After all's been said and done, more's been said than done."

Elvis sang "A little less conversation, a little more action please..." Not a bad motto for some churches to consider!

Maybe that's why Jesus said "Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes.’" (Matthew 5:37) or in the NLT "Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't'."

If you're interested in tackling information overload, check out: http://changethis.com/34.04.LowInfo